Friday, July 20, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #5

Other sports - I keep at least a few as I find them, but if I was to focus on other sports besides baseball, the number of baseball subjects in my awesome action collection maybe dwarfed.

My awesome action collection is kept up to find baseball cards with images that are a little 'extra,' but unlike other sports - the action that are shown on many baseball cards, can be reduced to players hitting, pitching, catching or standing around in one form or the other.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #4

Fun cards - primarily cards with images of players who ham it up for the camera and/or are captured doing something that looks kind of odd [maybe with the 'action' staged at times].

If nothing else, a key to many of these quirky cards - is the use of a prop that adds a bit of goofiness.

Personality shots - primarily cards picturing some emotion, some life.

I think there is definitely some overlap between 'fun cards' and 'personality shots,' though a distinction that could possibly be made - is that the latter is a little more organic, a little less choreographed for bits and giggles.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #3

Game face cards - maybe a little subjective with primarily cards that might have less 'in your face' action, but with images of players captured 'in their element.'

Unique perspectives - primarily cards with a not so typical baseball card image, maybe a unique artsy-fartsy shot that could be a little poignant, a little jubilant or ‘unconventional.'

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Awesome action - a visual guide #2

Dirt fetish - if there is any visible dirt on a guy's uniform, I'm keeping the card regardless of how incidental.

Awesome action - a visual guide #1

I was on a plastic pages 'kick' and purchased a box of 100 to display base cards and basic inserts for a number of star players that could make up at least a page of nine - I wanted to do something different with the remaining [around 15] plastic pages, so I went ahead and made an ‘awesome action / awesome outfield’ sampler.

The plan is to have at least one mini-collection displayed in sheets in a binder but boxes are still where most cards go - I pulled 18 cards for the different types of loosely defined themes I have in my mind to see what the cards would look like in pages.

Besides showing off the cards, I wanted to see if my personal distinctions generally hold up - the actual cards are still jumbled up under my awesome action umbrella, but I want it where I can 'label' why I have or need a card for this collection, particularly when the 'awesomeness' might not be obvious.

Actual on field game action - the 'pure' awesome action cards.

Monday, July 16, 2018

1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr. 98T

I picked up a copy of this card because Ripken Jr. was a star who was on the verge of an iconic milestone when I was really getting into baseball fandom through the mid 1990s - this is probably his best mainstream rookie-year card and maybe the adolescent in me would be really impressed to have this in my personal collection.

When I started really collecting as a kid, I remember 'finding' Ripken Jr.'s 1982 Donruss RC during a visit at an acquaintance's house - afterwards, I had to tag along with my parents to look for carpeting in what would be the family home.

I was bored and I took some tape off a dispenser I was playing and stuck it on a part of the card - I peeled the tape off and just like that I'd damaged a card worth a whopping [at least to me] $8 at the time; maybe it was simply karma for a little youthful indiscretion on my end.

In the early 1990s, I was just starting to get into baseball fandom as Nolan Ryan was knocking down achievements [5,000th strikeout, 300th win, 6th no-hitter] as an elder statesman of MLB - I never got Ryan's autograph when I first started to get autographs in-person, but I was able to meet Ripken Jr. a few times when the year after he broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Picking five collection / project keepers

I'm not sure where to go with this bat around prompt, because according to my list of main projects - I already have five or six things I'm working on, but each of those collections has different wrinkles that mushroom into different subsets.

I'll do what I do, but maybe in my head, the idea would be to rip one thing from each of these five things - maybe narrow the focus just a bit more than what I've already spelled out.

1.) Personal collection cards - maybe my PC is always going to be ‘all over the place’ and ‘thin’ all-around between the varying degrees of quality, years, types, subjects, but if nothing else, I want to have a good, representative collection of cards I can pull out and have a good look at once in awhile.

I want to build depth within my PCs by adding ‘4-6’ old school / vintage rookie cards - I should be glad to have picked off and squirreled away.

With some inherent limitations, but hopefully still some imagination - I want to see if I could pick up some cards I’d never thought to have in my PC.

2.) Regional collections - focus on adding to my regional PC, A-Z singles, all-time autograph collection and inserts; ditch any 'loose card' projects like binder stars, frankenset and Opening Day starters that may have fallen flat in recent years.

3.) Collecting topics - I've got 25-30 ongoing collections but instead of trying to 'nerd out,' focus on 5-10 mini-collections to hammer on.

Awesome action and awesome outfield action
Bonus babies - star cameos on common players' cards
Local guys
Multi sport athletes

Facial hair
Pitchers hitting
Tools of ignorance - catcher cards

4.) Award winners collection

5.) A-Z singles

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Some low-end finds from the card shop

I ended up at a random card stop and the plan was to find some loose 2018 Topps Stadium Club and perhaps make a supply run for some magnetic card holders and penny sleeves - unfortunately there was no loose 2018 Topps Stadium Club thrown into the quarter boxes just yet.

While leafing through the same random cards I usually go through in order to shop around - I found some assorted cards to take home.

2018 Topps Ben Gamel #558 - I always tell myself to be picky when it comes to digging through a current year's flagship cards because the ones I'll end up with, I'll probably pull at some point.

Still, the picture on this card is way too nice for me to leave behind - maybe I've gotten away from loose pack or blaster breaks anyway, so I'd rather have this card now than forget about it entirely.

2018 Topps Guillermo Heredia #522 - another flagship card I couldn't leave behind.

2013 Topps Manny Machado #270 x2 - factory set inserts; Machado is the most intriguing trade bait candidate and the next couple of weeks will probably decide the Baltimore Orioles' future prospects [as in direction of the franchise as well as guys the maybe getting back in a potential trade].

2004 Topps Yadier Molina #324 - Molina doesn't inspire warm and fuzzies, but he's a borderline HOF guy just because his reputation as a catcher was that much better than everyone else.

2013 Topps Update Series Christian Yelich #US290 - a card like this is barely worth anything, but I've decided any 'Dollar Tree' rookie cards of MLB stars are keepers, especially when I don't have them.

Monday, July 09, 2018

2001 Upper Deck Albert Pujols #295

I don't think I actually saw many Pujols rookie cards in his rookie year, so after all these years, I guess I'd like to add at least a couple to my PC - the 2001 Upper Deck and 2001 Bowman [#264] were the most 'widely' available rookie cards from Pujols' rookie year even though all his cards were in demand all season long.

While Pujols rookie card and rookie year issues were pumped out in mid through late season products, but I never had a chance to own but maybe two or three - including a factory set rookie year card from the 2001 Fleer Tradition, maybe an ugly Team Leaders subset card [#435] from 2001 Fleer Platinum RC Edition, a 2001 Topps Traded Pujols / Ichiro subset card [T99] and a 2001 Topps rookie card I bought at a card shop for a quarter maybe in 2002.

I remember finding the Topps Pujols in the particular card shop, when the quarter boxes were color coded with tabs - because the store owner was selling certain rows of cards on consignment.

The Topps rookie had a soft corner and I'd foolishly sent it to Pujols as a TTM autograph request - of course after 17 years, it never came back, even as a failure.

In recent years, the 38-year old Pujols hasn't been as relevant and still has at least 3 years left to go to play out his Angels contract [on the field] - however, Pujols' baseball accomplishments [short of a PED scandal] can't be taken away by what he has done away from St. Louis.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

2018 Topps Stadium Club Shohei Ohtani #138

I picked this card up to see if I could add some pack pulled rookie year cards of Ohtani on the down low - I want to see him back on the mound at some point, but that maybe in 2019 or even in 2020.

Considering what he has accomplished in his MLB season, even if he never steps on the mound again and is merely an 'OK' hitter, I'll probably keep any of his cards I find or pull - he can be a designated pinch runner or a peanut vendor in the stands at this point, but he's on my all-time list as a regional fan favorite.

At the very least one half of Ohtani is actually playing at the moment, though it's hard to say if Ohtani the hitter can trend upward - I try to catch his at-bats and with the swings he has taken, looks crossed up more often than not.

It looks like he's been exposed by opposing pitchers and the number of strikeouts look to pile up in bunches - on other hand, I believe Ohtani's talent and aptitude with play out over any rough stretches.

Friday, July 06, 2018

TTM autograph received: Larry Walker

I've seen TTM success from the former MLB star outfielder so I wanted to take my shot - I had at least three or four different specific 'set' cards for Walker, but seeing the reported successes were personalized, I chose a random, unique card I wanted inked up, even if Walker made it out to me as opposed to just signing it.

Go figure, I got my dual sided card back after a three week wait and it was just signed - no personalization with a 'swing hard' or 'best wishes' inscription.

The autograph is a little streaky but the card was super glossy to begin with - the card was already signed in-person by former outfielder Rusty Greer when it was given to me by a one-time friend.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

2018 Topps Series 2 hanger box

I haven't bought any 2018 Topps Series 2 because cards of MLB rank-and-file players tend to get boring and redundant, when I don't have an opportunity to get them autographed in-person - while I actually picked up the SP variation rookie year cards of Gleyber Torres and Ronald Acuna Jr., this was my first actual unopened break of 2018 Topps Series 2.

#546 Jordan Luplow
#685 Russell Martin
#679 Tyson Ross
#478 Brad Miller
#463 Cory Spangenberg
#378 Aaron Wilkerson
#443 Gerrit Cole
#675 Victor Arano
#473 Wilmer Difo
#440 Troy Scribner
#611 Josh Bell
#394 Chad Pinder
#354 Robert Stephenson
#372 Nick Tropeano
#700 Shohei Ohtani
#514 A.J. Minter
#535 Jhoulys Chacin
#594 Sandy Alcantara
#392 Marcus Stroman
#579 Carson Fulmer
#682 Kansas City Royals team card
#389 New York Yankees Award Show - feat. Stanton and Judge
#426 Jacob Faria
#475 Aroldis Chapman
#377 Domingo Santana
#643 Justin Wilson
#597 Caleb Joseph
#490 Jarrod Dyson
#526 Tanner Roark
#399 Chicago Cubs team card
#625 Los Angeles Dodgers team card
#481 Ronald Torreyes
#575 Adrian Gonzalez
#635 Cody Allen
#391 Ben Zobrist
#S-60 Ozzie Albies - Topps Salute insert
#439 Dustin Pedroia - Gold parallel serial #'d 0290/2018
#83AS-47 Wade Boggs - 1983 Topps Baseball insert
#607 Sean Newcomb - Rainbow Foil parallel
#II-47 Amed Rosario - Instant Impact insert
#LITM-3 Byron Buxton - Legends in the Making insert
#LITM-8 Jose Abreu - Legends in the Making insert
#641 Cameron Maybin
#398 Sam Dyson
#351 Bryce Harper
#568 J.C. Ramirez
#664 Gregor Blanco
#556 Andrew Benintendi
#483 Drew Pomeranz
#648 Derek Holland
#471 Cole Hamels
#457 Hanley Ramirez
#677 Brandon Moss
#688 Tony Walters
#617 Doug Fister
#507 Zack Greinke
#606 Jake Arrieta
#530 Jason Vargas
#509 Santiago Casilla
#510 Freddie Freeman
#358 Brad Brach
#520 Jim Johnson
#670 Asdrubal Cabrera
#583 Tommy Joseph
#534 German Marquez
#369 Chris Taylor
#362 Miguel Rojas
#538 Jason Castro
#515 Greg Bird
#504 Scott Schebler
#368 Matt Strahm
#401 Michael Brantley

Friday, June 29, 2018

Featured autograph: Jo Adell

I picked up this certified first-year autograph of Adell, who is tearing things up with Inland Empire in the California League - he hasn't walked much, but the ball is flying off his bat [through 141 at-bats, he is slugging .638] and he might be the next hyped up super prospect in pro ball.

I was probably only vaguely interested in Mike Trout cards early in his minor league career and when he kind of broke out through the 2010 season - I was thinking I'd get his first-year autographs cards when the hype levels off.

I've been burned by throwing some money into a few prospects in the late 2000s - but it never dawned on me that I needed to jump on Trout's key cards besides some random prospect / insert cards I was probably looking to get signed in-person.

Because of Trout, there is a fear of missing out [FOMO] on certain prospects, even though Trout is a once in a generation talent - I'm going to need a lot of luck hoping a guy like Adell is even half the player Trout is for the Angels.

Adell's best mainstream first-year card is the super short printed 2017 Bowman Draft autograph - this particular card may not be Adell's best auto, even within the 2017 Bowman's Best product, but it is a card I hope to build upon in my regional collection.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Featured autograph: Robert Stock

I was pulling inserts out of a binder and found this certified autograph of San Padres relief pitcher Robert Stock - I remember Baseball America naming Stock the best player in the nation [2005 Youth Player of the Year] and I thought this guy could be special like Joe Mauer or something.

Stock went to college before entering professional baseball - it looks like he'd made the transition from a catcher into a pitcher in 2012, but after being released by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014, he was pretty much a 'never has been.'

Stock bounced around a bit, but a stint in the independent leagues in 2016 helped revive his career - he pitched in affiliated minor league ball with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 and was signed by the San Diego Padres for this season.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Rafael Palmeiro - 1987 Donruss #43

If Palmeiro can continue to suit up to play independent baseball for at least the next few years - it can show he's still plugging away with his timeless swing and isn't completely removed from professional baseball, even though a failed steroid test derailed his induction into the Hall of Fame.

Right now, he gets to be a teammate of his son Patrick and while his stint with a team called the Cleburn Railroaders probably doesn't lead anywhere - maybe the occasional highlight helps him get back in the news where the 53-year old gets a second look, even if it's for cheap thrills, a novelty.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

2018 Panini Stars & Stripes rack pack set

Through Instagram, I found out about a 66-card rack pack set of USA cards offered through Team USA Baseball - I clicked onto their IG stories [as directed] which took me to a link to buy the cards.

I haven’t seriously messed with any Team USA stuff but for $12 plus $5 s/h [through June] - when Bowman Draft comes out in the middle of winter, I might as well see if I can add some new card depth, particularly for the players picked in this year’s amateur draft.

I thought there was always a separate boxed set of USA cards and then in recent years, the Stars & Stripes product was made as a product to bust through cases, boxes and packs - I’m not sure if the Stars & Stripes product is now the only set with cards for the collegiate, 18U and 15U national teams from the previous summer.

I received my ‘pack’ of cards in a couple of days in a box with some USA Baseball promotional info, an invoice, a random foil pack of cards [2017 Panini Stars & Stripes] - as well as a magnet with a free ground shipping code for orders through the Team USA shop through 2018.

The hits in these packs are three autographs, which apparently replaces the team cards for each of the national teams - it appears the autographs were leftover from 2017 product and are each serial #'d to 100.

2017 Playoff Contenders USA Seth Beer #USAT-SB serial #’d 27/100 - he’s still a first round pick [#28 by the Houston Astros] but I thought he had the potential be a Top 10 guy, when he won the national player of the year in college in 2016.

From the tidbits I’ve read, he’s a bat first player who has to really hit to distinguish himself - from being just another guy.

2017 Playoff Contenders USA J.T. Ginn #USAT-JT serial #’d 086/100 - another first round pick [#30 by the Los Angeles Dodgers].

2017 Playoff Contenders USA Rawley Hector #USAT-RH serial #’d 075/100 - he’s a Texas A&M commit.

The random foil pack contained five cards - at first I thought it would be my autographs, though I would have thought they would be inserted in the rack pack.

#26 Evan White
#17 Alex Lange
#42 Ryan Vilade
#35 Logan Allen
#27 Kyle Wright

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Featured autograph: Rickey Henderson

The number of Henderson certified autograph cards are fairly plentiful since he seems to sign regularly for pay - he's not the easiest in-person autograph get however and I wanted at least a pack pulled autograph to pair up with a rookie card I purchased some time ago.

This card might not be one of the real fancy ones, but it's a pretty nice card - this card has a dual bat / jersey with a blue ink sticker autograph, which can turn off other collectors, but it's fine to me for this particular card.

Obviously there are no logos on this card [Henderson is identified with Oakland] - which is fitting because he ended up playing for nine MLB teams.

The best leadoff hitter in the history of the game - there is still a fascination with the player and the personality.

Friday, June 15, 2018

1960 Topps Willie McCovey RC #316

With 10% eBay Bucks promo looming over my head, I added this McCovey card to beef up my personal collection - I remember pulling McCovey's autograph out of a 2001 Upper Deck Minor League Centennial pack and thought it would be nice to have a rookie to pair up with the relatively new [has it really been 17 years?] certified autograph card.

It maybe difficult to go back and forth, between modern and vintage, especially I’m can't throw serious money towards either genre - as a card collector, there is something about changing things up about any particular finds.

At times, the ‘latest and greatest’ takes precedence, but when I’m mindful enough or get inspired - there maybe an attempt to pick up a vintage card, as a nod to something old-school, a relic from an era that maybe foreign to what I've known, but something intriguing.

The picture of the picture isn't mine at all, but it's pretty neat - shows how the shift was on for McCovey during a game back in the late 1960s.

Monday, June 11, 2018

More card show stuff - misc rookies

These plain looking cards aren't autographed or shiny, but I picked them up in case I didn't have rookie logo cards - to go with whatever player collection I have of these guys.

2015 Topps Javier Baez #315 x2 - he’s kind of an all-or-nothing hitter but he teases with his all-around athleticism and savviness.

2012 Topps Update Trevor Bauer #US213 - not a fan of the personality, but Bauer is ‘maturing’ into a very good pitcher.

2013 Topps Update Anthony Rendon #US8 - he's a nice baseball player who had a career year in 2017, but perhaps his potential to be a 'hobby star' has sailed a while ago.

2015 Topps Update Francisco Lindor #US286 - Rookie Debut subset; it’s not considered his rookie card, but a rookie-year Lindor card is a keeper.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Stopped at a card show, got some cards

I haven't been to my nearest, twice a week card show in a few years but my buddy said he was going to pick me up and take me there before we headed to a baseball game - I was hoping for better but for ‘sports stuff’ like cards, the set-up is pretty much the same.

I suppose I might be able to find just what I need, but then it seems like it is still the same sellers - so many booths, so much foot traffic but it's more focused on pop culture items, autograph signings, gaming cards, toys, video games, etc.

As is, I ended up at a booth that I remember being at a different spot my last random stop there - I don’t know if the dollar boxes ever changed, so that was what I was most familiar with.

I dug around and pulled some cards in dusty old top loaders - looking for the right combination of random cards to pick up on a relative budget is still a thing.

2014 Topps Mariano Rivera #42 - Target Red border parallel.

1994 Fleer Tim Salmon #6 - A.L. Rookie of the Year insert; I’ve never actually had a card from this player specific insert set even though Salmon was my guy through the 1990s.

1991 Topps Stadium Club Ken Griffey Jr. #270 - maybe a star card from the early 1990s that actually ‘meant something’ for a little bit, so there might be nostalgia here.

2011 Playoff Contenders Justin Verlander #11 - Artist’s Proof serial #’d 16/49; the fact these are logoless cards make them look 'meh' but it’s of kind neat anyways.

1997 Pinnacle X-Press Jeff Bagwell #5 of 18 - Far & Away insert; in 2018, no one cares about a random insert from 1997, but the relative shininess makes the card a keeper.

2014 Bowman Platinum Austin Meadows #BPCP39 - Purple parallel; Meadows is bound to cool off after a hot start, but this is a nice looking prospect card of the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie.

2014 Topps Update Mookie Betts #FN-MB3 - The Future is Now insert; he was a hot player before his DL stint and at the very least, this is a rookie year insert.

Friday, June 08, 2018

To live and die with a golden right arm

As far as Shohei Ohtani is concerned, I'm bracing for the worst after hearing the latest injury news - now I'm wondering if the Angels tried to manage his workload because he was the shiny new toy or whether his right arm was working on borrowed time.

The story about the player and his performance has been fascinating - but the worst case scenario that Ohtani needs Tommy John surgery and won't finish this season and will not pitch for a significant part of 2019.

As a collector, I believed in the talent, so I went 'all in' to secure at least one nice card off the bat - which was his 2018 Topps Heritage Action variation card [#17].

I don't know how it all plays out now, but I'd gotten when I pulled his 2017 Bowman Mega Box card - I tried grabbing his 2018 Topps Now issues and his 2018 Living Set card.

I couldn't afford any of his pack pulled autographs - but was interested in looking for some MLB licensed pack pulled cards to supplant the Topps Now issues I've bought.